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The Toad, the Turtle and the Snake

January 29th, 2022 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, would you think it strange if I identify with these belittled creatures?

I know that I am supposed to aspire to be a beautiful, flight-gifted creature like a bird or butterfly or dragonfly. These elegant creatures represent freedom and grace. I do quite admire them for that reason among others.

But truthfully, there are days when I identify more with some of the less inspirational creatures.

For example, the lowly American Toad at the head of this post. I am north of 60 years old and showing more than a few warts, literally and figuratively, as I age. I wear these warts like a badge of honour. It is who I am for better or for worse. Take it or leave it is becoming one my fondest expressions.

Modern society tells us through various means that we should be constantly in motion. If you are not moving ahead, you are falling behind. But I am no longer concerned with keeping up with the fast movers. Sitting on my haunches contemplating life and doing my own thing, which often means going sideways instead of forward, is my modus operandi now.

Turtles are forever saddled with the label of being slow-moving creatures, although this only applies to their mobility on land. They are in fact quite agile creatures when in their natural element be it marsh, pond or lake.

I feel much the same about myself. I can get no traction in the technology realm where I progress at turtle pace at the best of times. I am a thinker and an analyzer which requires me to spend long periods of time in quiet contemplation. But in my chosen modes of expression I glide effortlessly like a turtle beneath the water’s surface.

And yes, sometimes I do choose to retreat into my shell. This is considered ungracious in many circles. But I often do my best work in these periods of retreat.

Snakes have gotten bad press from the very beginning in the Garden of Eden. Many cannot grasp that there was a metaphor involved in that story in which the serpent got cast in the role of bad guy. I have been cast in a few unfavourable roles over the years which have had a tendency to stick. But I am more concerned with authenticity than publicity.

There is also the snake in the grass expression which denotes treachery and deceit. I do now and then adopt what polite society considers a subversive position which might earn me that tag. It does not particularly bother me. I would rather be true to myself and disliked than act out a role for the sake of a good reputation.

So I willingly take on the metaphors of the toad and its warts, the turtle with its plodding pace, and the snake in the grass. I have moments when I am liked and moments when I annoy. I am equally proud of both.

I am who I am and unapologetically so. If that bothers you, my response is: Your problem. Not mine.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at or the novel online companion at

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